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knees -- braces?

Camino(s) past & future
planning CP fall 2018
#1
hi all -- thank you for this forum, I've been reading around and learning lots! I plan to walk the CP from Porto starting in about 3 weeks. On my "training" hikes, I've been experiencing some very mild pain by my knee, seems to be from the tendons or ligaments to side of the kneecap (inner side). I'm looking for suggestions on how to reduce the risk of this causing problems on the Caminho -- knee brace? Poles? Other?

More background -- I'm 56 and in good health. My right leg has always been weaker than the left -- I have a little bit of muscle imbalance on the right leg. I practice pilates to strengthen the leg, and I usually have no knee problems. I walk and hike frequently, and with no pack, I have no pain (at distances like 20 km). So I've never used poles or knee braces. However, for the last month I've been hiking with my full Caminho pack as practice. As I get up to 10 km or so, I start to get some minor twinges next to the knee. It goes away pretty easily, especially with rest. But I'd like to support the knee so it doesn't develop a bigger problem.

Since I've never had this problem before, I'm wondering about possible solutions. I am trying to keep my pack light, but am carrying a light sleeping bag and some warmer clothes for October weather. I've got it down to about 8 kg without water (I weigh about 72 kg). My husband and I have extra time, so we plan to take it slow and rest whenever needed (we can spend 3+ weeks on CP, when I understand it can be done in 10 days).

So in addition to 'go slow and rest', anyone have suggestions?
 

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davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#2
Hi, kestrel; welcome to the Forum :)

This may not be the problem in your specific case, but if you have issues with pronation, it can put excess pressure on your knee's supporting structures. If you are unsure about pronation -- or supination -- place your shoes on a flat hard surface and then look at them from the back. Do they have a tilt or lean to them? If such is the case, that is an issue that can be well worth exploring. If this is the case, replacing your shoes with ones that are designed for motion control is the simplest solution to try.

Insert devices like orthotics and third party insoles can also do a lot to keep your feet properly aligned, but they have a hard time overcoming a weak foundation.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, portuguesa, st olav, via de la plata
#3
hi all -- thank you for this forum, I've been reading around and learning lots! I plan to walk the CP from Porto starting in about 3 weeks. On my "training" hikes, I've been experiencing some very mild pain by my knee, seems to be from the tendons or ligaments to side of the kneecap (inner side). I'm looking for suggestions on how to reduce the risk of this causing problems on the Caminho -- knee brace? Poles? Other?

More background -- I'm 56 and in good health. My right leg has always been weaker than the left -- I have a little bit of muscle imbalance on the right leg. I practice pilates to strengthen the leg, and I usually have no knee problems. I walk and hike frequently, and with no pack, I have no pain (at distances like 20 km). So I've never used poles or knee braces. However, for the last month I've been hiking with my full Caminho pack as practice. As I get up to 10 km or so, I start to get some minor twinges next to the knee. It goes away pretty easily, especially with rest. But I'd like to support the knee so it doesn't develop a bigger problem.

Since I've never had this problem before, I'm wondering about possible solutions. I am trying to keep my pack light, but am carrying a light sleeping bag and some warmer clothes for October weather. I've got it down to about 8 kg without water (I weigh about 72 kg). My husband and I have extra time, so we plan to take it slow and rest whenever needed (we can spend 3+ weeks on CP, when I understand it can be done in 10 days).

So in addition to 'go slow and rest', anyone have suggestions?
Hello kestrel 39,
I have 2 replaced knees and have walked the CF, CP and the first 1/2 of the VdP. I ALWAYS use 2 poles - Black Diamond X-poles (as they collapse into 3 and fit in a checked-in pack on the plane) . They reputedly take 10kgs pressure off each knee. They only take a little practice and I would not walk without them. I also strap my feet with sports tape (under and over the instep) and wear orthotics in my shoes. It would be wise to have a podiatrist check your feet before you set off. I will be finishing the VdP in June 2019. Then maybe a new pair of knees will be needed!
 
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
#5
Hi,

I had injured my knee last winter. The inner ligament was torn 2/3, but not completely. The doctor advised me, to use poles and to wear a knee brace. But this felt very uncomfortable on my test walks and usually I do not walk with poles. So I talked to my physiotherapist about my problems and he showed me how to put Kinesiotape to support my knee. This worked very well. I walked the Primitivo this June with average stages of 27 km without any pain. Only when walking into Santiago I felt too proud, to put a new tape on my knee, thought it would look nicer without. This was the only time I felt a little pain.

BC
Alexandra
 

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Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016; CPort (Central) from Porto 2017;
CPort (Coastal) from Porto 2018.
#6
I second kinesio tape.

I injured my knees on my first Camino - right one came good pretty quickly but my left has never been the same (considering I'd had a knee reconstruction 9 years prior, probs not a surprise). But i managed to finish the CF and then walk Camino Portuguese doing these things:

- kinesio tape every single day (i found out how to strap it via youtube, haha)
- iced my knee during rest stops and at the end of the day (just asked for a bag of ice at the bar - i'd reuse my plastic bags from one bar to the next)
- used poles
- in preparation, core strengthening exercises - side and front planks, standing on one leg throwing a ball against the wall, squats etc. And calf and hip stretches.
- sent my pack forward (essential on first 2 caminos but managed the carry my pack every single day on 3rd)

For my 3rd Camino, I changed footwear to shoes with zero drop (Altras) - my knees like zero drop, less bending, better alignment. And i changed my pack to an Aarnpack with front balance pockets. I'm not sure exactly what the magic bullet was, but my 3rd Camino was definitely the best one for my knees.

I hope some of these tips help and Buen Camino :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
? route TBD for April (2019)
#7
@kestrel39 I have worn a prescriptionknee brace since my knee injury in the military back in 2001 when I had an osteotomy and meniscal repair 4 total surgeries on my left knee and its still not perfect but I refuse to let my knee control me.
1. my first tip if you have not done this already is to talk with your doctor, best would be an orthopedic specialist (sport medecine) and you can also talk to your psyio therapist. No advise can be better than that of a professional who knows how your joints and muscles will react to undue strain.
2. Use antishock trekking poles or regular poles (i use Leki expensive but worth every penny)
3. Dont be afraid to use transport for your pack as needed
4. Good shoes(good fit) with ankle support and insoles. I use Lowa Aeox with Superfeet green insoles because they work for me. Just recently they gave me custom orthotics as I developed a really bad heel spur on the opposite foot.
5. Brace /sport tape as recommended by your doctor or psyio therapist as they can advise how to properly protect your knee. my picture below is my brace , the cyborg turtle, which was instrumental for my camino this past spring from SJPDP to Santiago on to Finisterre and Muxia
6. Consider using ice, TENS unit ( I carried my TENS with me ), magnesium or pain patch/creams/ pills to assist with pain. Keeping your pack light is a great idea.

Most important of all these is knowing your limits and listen to your body. If you are in extreme pain I recommend not pushing it...take it easy, rest a day or take a bus and also consider pack transport to give the knee a chance to recover. Don’t feel pressured to do 30 km a day because its not necessary. You can definately do it....and all things are possible if you expect pain, not be afraid of it and learn how to mitigate the affects.

I would never tell someone not to do something as many people have told me that I couldn’t do a camino with a bad knee. I did it and yes I was in pain but I was smart and planned for any problems. I cannot express how wonderful it was to hear the bagpipes while walking thru the archway in Santiago.
My final tip is obtain good travel medical insurance which includes pre existing injuries just in case of emergency.

With all that said ..I wish you a Buen Camino
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#8
I’ve been using the brace linked below. A year ago I was diagnosed with a tear of my left lateral meniscus. This brace really helps when hiking.

Physix Gear Knee Support Brace - Premium Recovery & Compression Sleeve for Meniscus Tear, ACL, MCL Running & Arthritis - Best Neoprene Stabilizer Wrap for Crossfit, Squats & Workouts (Single Grey L) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0734YZBB9/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_uvMMBbPQJVM6G
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May 2017
#9
Hi Kestrel, having just completed the Camino Portuguese I would recommend you consider a compression sleeve for each knee. I am 70 years old in good condition and have great knees because when I do long distance walking I wear them religiously. These are the ones that you pull on each leag over your knee, they have a hole in the front to let the knee cap exposed. I also use 2 poles which definitely make a great difference. Good luck, and Buon Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Porto (2018 - planned)
#10
Hi Kestrel, I'll also be walking the CP from Porto in approx. 3 weeks (starting Oct 1). Maybe we'll see each other.

When I was walking the CF a couple of years ago, I developed knee problems. Once they manifested, I started with a compression sleeve and it helped at the beginning but it got worse and that wasn't enough, so I switched to a brace that I acquired in a farmacia. The brace itself wasn't enough either and I got poles at my first opportunity thereafter. Once I got the poles, I found it made an enormous difference and I was sorry I hadn't started with them. I wouldn't do a long distance walk without them now. I found that I still needed the knee brace on that Camino, though. If I was feeling good I might walk the first 10 km without it, but eventually I'd have to put it back on.

Years later, my knees are somewhat better. In my training walks for my upcoming CP, I've walked 20 km+ for three days in a row (including some steep descents) without the knee brace or knee compression sleeve. I always use my poles, though.

So, in case it isn't obvious, I would definitely recommend the poles. :) You can take them with you or pick them up in Porto. You might want to take a compression sleeve for your right leg, or you can try starting without and pick one up at a pharmacy if needed.

Bom Caminho!
 
Camino(s) past & future
planning CP fall 2018
#12
Thank you all so much -- I'll try all of the above! :) Will try to get in to see my Dr for a referral. Also will start trying out kinesio tape, compression sleeves, and poles. I can still get in a bunch of practice hikes before I leave, so hopefully this will surface a solution or combination of solutions. I appreciate the help.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2014
#13
I was over there when I experienced this incredible pain in back of my knee. I thought I wouldn't be able to continue but one of our group had anti-inflamatory meds. I took 1 pill and within about 15 minutes I was ok. I also did pick up a knee brace from a farmacia.
 
Camino(s) past & future
planning CP fall 2018
#15
Thanks again for the suggestions. I had some success today!

I bought a compression sleeve for the knee, and also picked up a pair of Black Diamond poles at REI. I used both today for a 7 mile hike with full pack ... and no pain! I walked another 5 miles later in the day while out with friends, this time with no pack (and no compression sleeve and no poles). The knee was a little tired by the end of the day, but no pain to speak of.

So I think that will work, and I'll plan to take the poles and the sleeve. I hadn't wanted to use poles, I don't know why ... perhaps just because I never have. But I can't argue with the results, so they're going in my bag.

I'm still pursuing the other suggestions too -- trying to get an appointment with a physiotherapist to have them check out my feet, knees, alignment, etc, and get suggestions from them including use of Kinesiotape. But I feel relieved that the poles and sleeve will most likely keep me functioning.

Thank you!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#16
Good post and good replies - oh, our knees! Rule 1 is obviously pack light and walk upright and relaxed! Rule 2 is to stop when you hurt, take care of the knee, anti-inflammatories, rest, elevation, thumbs into the point of pain massage - doing first aid on Camino I am often astounded at how many pilgrims with knee problems exacerbate them by just walking on, in pain - not taking just one day off to rest.

Also, if one has knee problems before going then getting measured up for insole inserts to straighten the walking legs (if one has problems there), can be of immense help - even to the point of disappearing the problem.

I use a knee brace - bad trauma when young - and have found that the type that have hinges either side and adjustable compression straps are much better than simple compression sleeves, although good quality compression sleeves are good - this is because a lot of ligament pain is because the knee constantly 'swivels' and having those hinges either side encourages the knee to track only backwards and forwards - this alleviates those strains that cause so much pain.

My favourite is the American McDavid 429X but there are also some very good copies of this pattern.

See here - ... I am using eBay for illustration
McDavid - McDavid 429X
Great copy Body-Tec (at one seventh of the McDavid price!!!) - Body-Tec

As with all supports, try not to wear them all the time or the muscles may become weak.

And - knee braces can really help - but they are not a cure - go see a doctor!!

Hope this helps

Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from sarria 2015
Via Francigena Aquapendente to Rome 2016
Camino Portuguese from TuI 2016
#17
Hi
just in Santiago now having completed Camino ingles yesterday. Having lost a lot of weight since my last Camino.. I used same backpack and I ended up carrying 9kg.. my right knee got painful as I had issues in the past( baker's cist).I had a stretch band with me..I used it for short time then it annoyed me took it off..
What I was also doing without realising I was going at a faster pace than my own normal one, talking to other pilgrims..few and far between I should add. So, as soon as I slowed down, it felt better, also I used my left leg as a push forward leg at times.
I was doing long stretches 25/26km and
Lots of down hill that created the problem...even though I used poles all the times..
When I surrendered to the fact that I was carrying too much, arranged for the b/ pack transport...
I managed to do the last day no pain..so
Here it is...weight can impact on your walking.
Plan ahead your stages to be manageable.
Buen Camino Peregrino
 
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to leave South Africa on 15 September and return on 14 October 2018.
#18
hi all -- thank you for this forum, I've been reading around and learning lots! I plan to walk the CP from Porto starting in about 3 weeks. On my "training" hikes, I've been experiencing some very mild pain by my knee, seems to be from the tendons or ligaments to side of the kneecap (inner side). I'm looking for suggestions on how to reduce the risk of this causing problems on the Caminho -- knee brace? Poles? Other?

More background -- I'm 56 and in good health. My right leg has always been weaker than the left -- I have a little bit of muscle imbalance on the right leg. I practice pilates to strengthen the leg, and I usually have no knee problems. I walk and hike frequently, and with no pack, I have no pain (at distances like 20 km). So I've never used poles or knee braces. However, for the last month I've been hiking with my full Caminho pack as practice. As I get up to 10 km or so, I start to get some minor twinges next to the knee. It goes away pretty easily, especially with rest. But I'd like to support the knee so it doesn't develop a bigger problem.

Since I've never had this problem before, I'm wondering about possible solutions. I am trying to keep my pack light, but am carrying a light sleeping bag and some warmer clothes for October weather. I've got it down to about 8 kg without water (I weigh about 72 kg). My husband and I have extra time, so we plan to take it slow and rest whenever needed (we can spend 3+ weeks on CP, when I understand it can be done in 10 days).

So in addition to 'go slow and rest', anyone have suggestions?
I have artritis and have been fitted with a brace. I also do isometric exercises. I am 77 and do get tired. So I suggest 10 kms initially should help set the pace.. also of anti inflammatories could help getting you through. Buen Canino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
planning CP fall 2018
#19
Thanks all, for the input and support.

Today's hike was another success. We walked 8.5 miles with full packs, and I used the compression sleeve and trekking poles. I stopped halfway for a rest and elevated my legs, did some stretching. My knee feels pretty darn good! I'm icing it now just to stay ahead of things, but I don't have pain.

Yay!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sep-Oct 2014
#20
Hi Kestrel, I'll also be walking the CP from Porto in approx. 3 weeks (starting Oct 1). Maybe we'll see each other.

When I was walking the CF a couple of years ago, I developed knee problems. Once they manifested, I started with a compression sleeve and it helped at the beginning but it got worse and that wasn't enough, so I switched to a brace that I acquired in a farmacia. The brace itself wasn't enough either and I got poles at my first opportunity thereafter. Once I got the poles, I found it made an enormous difference and I was sorry I hadn't started with them. I wouldn't do a long distance walk without them now. I found that I still needed the knee brace on that Camino, though. If I was feeling good I might walk the first 10 km without it, but eventually I'd have to put it back on.

Years later, my knees are somewhat better. In my training walks for my upcoming CP, I've walked 20 km+ for three days in a row (including some steep descents) without the knee brace or knee compression sleeve. I always use my poles, though.

So, in case it isn't obvious, I would definitely recommend the poles. :) You can take them with you or pick them up in Porto. You might want to take a compression sleeve for your right leg, or you can try starting without and pick one up at a pharmacy if needed.

Bom Caminho!
I used poles on the CF in 2015 and never stopped using them. Started getting knee pain last year and have been using a compression sleeve covering each knee when necessary. Oh, and I leave Porto on 1 October as well. From Best Guest hostel. Hope to see you on the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Zip
#21
Hi, kestrel; welcome to the Forum :)

This may not be the problem in your specific case, but if you have issues with pronation, it can put excess pressure on your knee's supporting structures. If you are unsure about pronation -- or supination -- place your shoes on a flat hard surface and then look at them from the back. Do they have a tilt or lean to them? If such is the case, that is an issue that can be well worth exploring. If this is the case, replacing your shoes with ones that are designed for motion control is the simplest solution to try.

Insert devices like orthotics and third party insoles can also do a lot to keep your feet properly aligned, but they have a hard time overcoming a weak foundation.
Agreed!
See a physical therapist ASAP to learn exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles and do them every day. Stretch whenever you can!
 
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
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T Medical issues on the pilgrimage 10
A Medical issues on the pilgrimage 4

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